Makoni Publicly Clashes With MDC's Jamieson Timba
Dr Simba Makoni, pictured here at a World Economic Forum Summit, was at the Quill Club in Harare last week, where he attacked the government of Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert for wasteful expenditure, wrong priorities and "failing the nation"on a host of other issues. Makoni directly took on MDC-T's Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, Jamieson Timba, who was in the audience, leading to a spirited public exchange in which Timba conceded that most of Makoni's accusations were "valid".
Harare, Zimbabwe, 25 May 2010At a gathering of journalists of last week, Mavambo interim president, Dr Simba Makoni, who ran for president in Zimbabwe's last General Election, clashed with the MDC-T's Deputy Minister of Information and Publicity, who was also present to hear him speak.
Makoni kicked off the confrontation by publicly accusing Timba, who I was sitting with in the audience, of "presiding over POSA and AIPPA." POSA (Public Order and Security Act) and AIPPA (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) are two of the most vile and repressive pieces of legislation currently on Zimbabwe's books.
They have been used by the government before to close down independent newspapers and harass journalists, effectively suffocating free speech and freedom of expression.
The MDC-T, since coming into government, has done nothing to have these pieces of legislation repealed.
Timba, at the end of Makoni's speech, told the gathering that he should have been asked to share the high table with Makoni and said most of his criticism was acceptable.
"On the wasteful foreign trips, Simba is absolutely correct. Totally unacceptable,"said Timba.
However, he claimed that there was currently a private member's proposition in parliament, sponsored by MDC's MP Gonese, to repeal POSA and AIPPA.
Timba, however, tried to smear Makoni by saying the MDC-T Minister of Finance and party Secretary General, Tendai Biti, had inherited a huge debt from ZANU PF in government, saying that some of the debt was accumulated by Makoni when he was Minister of Finance "and took us into the wasteful war in the DRC."
Makoni immediately hit back, saying that, by the time he accepted to be Minister of Finance, it was a full year since Zimbabwe had gone into the DRC. He also pointed out that he, Makoni, was the only Minister of Finance in Zimbabwe since Bernard Chidzero to run a budget that was close to being balanced.
He left government, Makoni said, when it became clear that he could not be effective because other Ministers and Mugabe refused to allow sensible policies that would have averted the economic meltdown that followed his resignation from the post of Finance Minister.
The meeting at the Quill Club at Ambassador Hotel in Harare, was well -attended by journalists from the independent media and some diplomats who had also come to hear what Makoni had to say.
The Mavambo leader lambasted ZANU PF and MDC-Tsvangirai for spending huge sums of money on foreign trips (US$28 million within the first nine months of the Tsvangirai-Mugabe coalition) while ignoring ignoring requests from one of the country's main hospitals, Harare Hospital, for just US$400 000 tore-equip itself and save lives).
Makoni also pointed out that there is not reconciliation and healing taking place in Zimbabwe despite the establishment of a "three-headed monster"ministry to deal with the matter.
Makoni has recently embarked on a tour of Zimbabwe which he is dubbing "Conversations with Simba"and is meeting citizens of Zimbabwe at public fora to put his case across.
He insists that the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe (which he says is neither Inclusive nor a Government) has failed the people of Zimbabwe and that he will be running again at the next elections against Tsvangirai and Mugabe.
This tour comes as Makoni's party recently released thousands of party membership cards, which are now being sold at party offices all over Zimbabwe.
The first batch of 20 000 cards printed last month was sold out within a week and the party, I understand, has now printed thousands more cards. This, together with renewed coverage of Makoni's activities by the independent media in Zimbabwe (which had been ignoring him for some time), has given Makoni impetus to launch a visibility campaign that is proving popular with audiences.
A recent development that was not covered by the media in Zimbabwe: Makoni was last month barred from attending the Independence Day celebrations in Harare by the Inclusive Government, which gave instructions to security at the grounds where Mugabe and Tsvangirai were present that he should be denied entry because he had not been officially invited.
Makoni had attended every celebration and other public occasions since 2008, when he ran for president, without any incident.
BACK TO FRONT PAGE FOR LATEST ZIMBABWE NEWS